From the first hands-on experience in a light aircraft, to achieving a Private Pilot Licence, learning to fly at Exeter Flying School is hugely rewarding and enjoyable.

We offer carefully structured one-to-one training, tailored to each student’s personal preferences – delivered by highly experienced professional instructors, in a friendly, supportive and relaxed atmosphere.

PPL Course Outline

The PPL course combines practical flight training and the theoretical knowledge required to pass the written exams. Practical training can be broadly divided into three sections

  • Aircraft Handling Skills
  • Navigation
  • Solo Consolidation

Aircraft handling skills are taught in a progressive series of lessons and are the vital foundations in the development of safe, capable and competent pilots. Once this stage of the course has been completed a student can fly.

Navigation training initially takes place in the local area and expands to landing at other UK airfields. There are numerous opportunities for our students to take part in excursions to France which many enjoy, finding that it gives greater depth to their overall experience.

To gain a PPL students are required to complete 10 hours of solo flight initially around the local countryside leading to a Qualifying Cross Country Flight, landing at two other airports before returning to the home base.

With all this in place, a short brush up flight to polish skills and the student is ready for the Skill Test, which is an opportunity to show an examiner what they have learnt and to celebrate their skills.

There are 9 multiple-choice online exams and a practical radio exam all of which can be completed in-house during the course of training. Whilst they are generally achieved through home study, help is always available for any areas that students might find more challenging.

Minimum Training Hours

Dual  –  25

Solo  –  10

Total  –  45

The remaining minimum of 10 hours may be made up of dual or solo flying.

Note:  “Dual” means with instructor on board.     “Solo” means without instructor on board


The LAPL is a restricted version of the PPL which, in theory, requires a shorter period of training (30hrs minimum).

LAPL holders are limited to flying aircraft of 2000kg or less (covers most light aircraft) carrying no more than 3 passengers. The concept of the LAPL was to create a simplified licence with a shorter training course and a less exacting medical. It opens up the prospect of a Pilot Licence to people who may otherwise struggle to meet the more rigorous medical requirements for the PPL. The LAPL can also be the first rung on the ladder for someone wishing to pursue a career in aviation. With  some additional training, it is a relatively easy process to upgrade a LAPL to a PPL.

It should be pointed out that there are two significant disadvantages to the LAPL which lead most students to opt for the PPL:

1/ After obtaining the LAPL, the holder is required to do a further 10 solo hours before carrying passengers, bringing the real world hours requirement close to that of the PPL.

2/ Since January 2021, the UK CAA LAPL has become valid only in the UK. This is probably an unforseen/unintended consequence of Brexit as it was originally conceived as a Europe-wide licence and may hopefully be rectified one day…

LAPL Course Outline

Training for the LAPL at Exeter Flying School is carried out in the same carefully structured, supportive manner as for the PPL. Students develop their skills and understanding throughout the course to become safe, competent and capable pilots. Training combines practical flight training and the theoretical written exams which are exactly the same nine exams as used for the PPL. The practical training follows the pattern of:

  • Aircraft Handling Skills
  • Navigation
  • Solo Consolidation

Minimum Training Hours

Dual  –  15

Solo   –   6

Total  –  30

The remaining minimum of 9 hours may be made up of dual or solo flying. It is prudent to point out that for most LAPL students to become competent and confident pilots the length of training will vary and it is usual for it to take longer.


Flying at night offers an exciting challenge. Learning to navigate with reference to the lights of local towns and roads and approaching the airfield at Exeter with its smart new runway lighting all combine to make a really magical experience.

The Night Rating provides a great opportunity to build on the skills acquired during initial flight training and extends the privileges of a licence. The qualification is available to pilots holding a PPL or LAPL and a medical with no restrictions with regards to flying at night.

So why train for a Night Rating?

The Night Rating enables you to operate in VFR (Visual Flight Rules) conditions during the hours of darkness. It is a useful addition to your licence during the winter months, especially if your flight has been delayed.

The only currency requirement is that, in order to carry passengers at night, you must have completed 3 take-offs and landings in the last 90 days, of which one has to be at night.

For those looking for a career in aviation a Night Rating is a requirement before a Commercial Licence can be issued.

Night Rating Course Outline

The Night Rating consists of a minimum of 5 hours flight training at night which must include:

  • 3 hours of dual instruction
  • 1 hour of cross country navigation
  • Circuits which must include 5 solo take-offs and 5 solo full stop landings.

There is no written exam and no flight test for this qualification. Once completed and signed off the rating may be added to your licence by application to the CAA.


The IR(R) Rating, formerly the UK IMC rating, allows a pilot to gain the skills needed to fly safely in or above cloud, out of sight of the surface and to make instrument approaches to various airports within the UK.  The rating is designed to get you out of trouble in the sometimes unpredictable British climate, enabling a pilot to fly safely in deteriorating weather. It is an excellent way for a pilot to extend and enhance their general flying skills.

Many newly qualified pilots see it as the next step in their development, although some post PPL consolidation and experience is extremely useful before embarking on the IR(R) training.

IR(R) Course Outline

The IR(R) or IMC course consists of a minimum of 15 hours training of which 10 hours must be by sole reference to instruments. Students learn basic and applied instrument techniques with full, partial and limited instrumentation and develop the ability to fly various manoeuvres without external references. Navigation with the use of instruments and a variety of approaches prepare the student for the IMC practical flight test.


An applicant for an IR(R) IMC must have 25 hours total experience as a pilot of an aeroplane following the issue of a PPL licence, including 10 hours P1 (Pilot in Command) time. IR(R) training may be included in the 25 hours required.


The course concludes with a written examination and a flight test to be conducted on completion of the training. The flight test is additional to the flying time required on the course of training for an IMC rating. Once achieved the rating is valid for a period of 25 months from the date of the test.


G-CHTO will allow us to offer tailwheel training to our established PPL/LAPL members.

There is no specific Tailwheel Rating, but the CAA requires pilots to undergo “Differences Training” before flying a tailwheel aircraft solo.

Even experienced pilots can find their initial flights in a “taildragger” quite challenging, with the aircraft sometimes seeming more in control of proceedings than the pilot!  However, once mastered, the skill is very satisfying and can translate to better flying techniques in all types of aircraft.